Labor Force-A: Figures, Wages and the Labor Sector 2018

The latest statistics on the labor force statistics in the State of Kuwait issued by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) as of the end of 2018 sorted according to its number, gender, nationality, wages and age groups, etc. indicate that the size of labor force in Kuwait is 2.104 million employees excluding the number of household workers (2.034 million workers in the end of 2017).  If we add the household labor -family sector- and the like which is about 707 thousand workers, the total number will be 2.811 million workers (2.712 million workers in the end of 2017).  Household workers’ percentage constitutes nearly 25.1% of total labor force in Kuwait as of the end of 2018 (25% of the total labor force in the end of 2017).

The average monthly wage of Kuwaiti male workers in the public sector is about KD 1778 (KD 1769 in the end of 2017). The Kuwaiti female wage average was KD 1272 (KD 1265 in the end of 2017), a difference of 39.7% in favor of men’s wages. The monthly salary average of non-Kuwaiti males in the public sector scored KD 724 (KD  710 in the end of 2017). For non-Kuwaiti females, the average wage was KD 664 (KD 656 in the end of 2017), with an 8.9% difference in favor of males. The gender gap is more equitable in the case of non-Kuwaitis. The average monthly wage for Kuwaitis of both genders in the public sector is KD 1482 (KD 1478 in the end of 2017).  The same average for non-Kuwaitis is KD 695 (KD 684 in the end of 2017), with a 113.3% difference in favor of Kuwaitis.

The monthly average wage of Kuwaiti males in the private sector is about KD 1411 (KD 1387 in the end of 2017), which is less than 20.6% of males in the public sector. This average for Kuwaiti females in the private sector is about KD 861 (KD 835 in the end of 2017), which is 32.3% less than that of their female colleagues in the public sector. Undoubtedly, the government support is meant to reduce the gap between the private and the public sector. The monthly average wage of non-Kuwaiti males in the private sector is about KD 269 (KD 261 in the end of 2017).  This equals 37.2% of the average salaries of their colleagues in the public sector. The average monthly wage for non-Kuwaiti females in the private sector is about KD 386 (KD 375 in the end of 2017), which is higher than the average salary of non-Kuwaiti males in the private sector by 43.3%, however it is lower than the average rate of their colleagues in the public sector by about 41.9%.

In case of the overall wage average in both the public and private sectors, the monthly average wage of Kuwaiti males is KD 1697 (KD 1684 in the end of 2017) and for Kuwaiti females in the same sector it is KD 1202 (KD 1189 in the end of 2017), with a 41.2% difference in favor of males. The monthly average wage for non-Kuwaiti males is at KD 281 (KD 274 in the end of 2017) and at KD 449 for non-Kuwaiti females (KD 442 in the end of 2017), a 59.4% difference in favor of females. The monthly average wage for male and female Kuwaitis in the two sectors is about KD 1415 (KD 1405 in the end   of   2017)  and  is  KD  298  for  non-Kuwaitis (KD 291 in the end of 2017). Note that these figures above do not include household labor which would have a significant impact downward on the non-Kuwaiti wage rates if taken into consideration. Nor do they include the impact of governmental support allocations to Kuwaiti workers in the private sector.

The number of Kuwaiti employees in the government sector according to the CSB, is 308 thousand workers (294 thousand workers in the end of 2017) but according to PACI, this figure stands at 335 thousand. The number of Kuwait employees in the private sector is 73 thousand workers (71 thousand workers in the end of 2017). This indicates that the Kuwaiti workforce is distributed between 80.8% in the public sector and 19.2% in the private sector.

About 40.7% of Kuwaitis working in the public sector are university graduates, 4.4% are have postgraduate degrees, 15% obtain diplomas above high school but below university degrees, and nearly 21.8% are holders of high school certificates or equivalent. This entails that about 81.8% of government employees are holders of high school certificates and above. That being said, productivity in the public sector remained weak either due to overcrowding and the unorganized working environment, or due to the poor educational level or even because of the incompatibility between education outcomes and labor market requirements or even because of the spread of fake degrees.